Learning Lincoln On-line

Thomas LIncoln Farm & LAYING OUT A PIONEER A FARM

 

LAYING OUT A PIONEER A FARM
Including measurements used in the pioneer days
 
     Abraham Lincoln would become a surveyor, much to the dislike of his father Thomas.  Thomas and Abraham could lay out a pioneer farm.  This job would take mathematical and geometrical skill, even if there was no "eddication" in any formal way.  Check this page to see how a farm was laid out.  The farm is the restored "Thomas Lincoln 4th Farm" located near Lerna, Illinois.  It is now a historical site.  Original items in the farm would include, of course, the land and the well.  The rest was constructed by 1930's Civilian Conservation Corps boys.
 
Thomas Lincoln, Father of Abe
A Pioneer Sustenance Farmer
in the 1840's
READ THE ONLINE CHAPTER BOOK BY DR. JAMES BALDWIN
ABOUT THE EARLY YEARS OF ABRAHAM FROM HIS BIRTH THROUGH THE SPRINGFIELD LAW CAREER

PLANNING A FARM IN THE MIDWEST DUKRING THE 1830'S THROUGH THE 1850'S

PLANNING A LINCOLN LOG FARM
(Use with Lincoln the Surveyor Career Activity)

DIAGRAM FROM THE LINCOLN LOG CABIN HISTORICAL SITE PAMPHLET
BE SURE TO VISIT THE "If You Lived with the Lincolns" Activity
Visit Lincoln Log Cabin Historical Site and view a video of the living farms there  Click Here

INTRODUCTION:
       Before purchasing farm acreage, the land would have to be surveyed.  If not, the farm could be taken by another title holder in later years.  This happened to Thomas Lincoln in Kentucky.  Lawyers and surveyors in Kentucky, Indiana and probably Illinois were not trusted or liked by sustenance farmers like Thomas Lincoln. 
It is strange that his son, Abraham would end up surveying and law.  
Abe was known for his high level honesty.  Thus he was nicknamed "HONEST ABE!"

 

What's included in a Pioneer 19th Century Log  Farm?

THE CABIN

       Tom Lincoln's cabin was of the "saddlebag" style.  It is actually two separate cabins connected in the middle.  It does have a loft area for bedding.  The logs were chinked, and the method of construction was of the Kentucky style. 

THE BARN

       Tom Lincoln's barn is called a double crib barn.  It has a crib (corn storage) area on both sides, with an open area in the middle.  Each crib area has hay storage above for oxen.  The western crib has a tack and feed room built in.  the middle area, called the threshing floor, is used for processing wheat.   Tom's oxen would be sheltered in this large barn.

A ROOT CELLAR
       A small partially underground building used for storing root crops and other food items that need to be kept cool in the summer and from freezing during the winter months. 

A SMOKEHOUSE
       Another log structure used for salt curing and smoking meats during the winter months of January, February, and March after butchering in December.  The salt curing was done to preserve the meat, while the smoking was for flavor and kept flies and other flying pests off of the meat. 

THE WATER WELL
       A necessary item for a farm.  It would supply needed water when the creek would go dry.  A lot of pioneer farm wells had long poles, called "the sweep," that helps to raise the heavy buckets of water.

THE GARDEN AND ORCHARD
       Close to the house, and often in front would be the garden and orchard.  Crops on pioneer log cabin farms raised fruit and vegetables for food.  They usually weren't interested in selling their produce in a market.  There were no markets in their isolated locations.  Heirloom gardening is a method of preserving species of plants which are rare or obsolete today.

THE LIVESTOCK
       In Illinois, Indiana and other Central U.S. states, the common livestock was hogs, chickens, sheep, oxen and horses.  

  • Hogs raised by farmers were brought in from other states such as South Carolina.  They had a fenced in pen and a simple lean to, to reside in during the winter.  Scraps from meals and corn were their main food staple.
  • Chickens would run all around the farm, especially around the cabin and often "inside" the cabin.  Roosters were not well-liked by pioneer children, as they would often chase them.
  • Sheep were raised to provide the wool to spin the yarn, to make the clothing and blankets.  Sheep were very important to pioneer survival.  Wool would provide warm blankets and clothing.
  • Oxen were very large "cattle" used to pull farm implements or wagons.  They were another necessary animal for the pioneer farmer to have.
  • Horses were used for farm work, as well as traveling to town and to a neighbor's farm.  They were also a necessary animal to survive in the prairie wilderness
CROP FIELDS-- DEALING WITH THE WOODS & A WILD ANIMAL ENVIRONMENT
A Definition of Sustenance Farming:

1. A means of sustaining life; nourishment.

2. A means of livelihood.
 

       The sustenance farmer grew and raised his crops and animals for he and his family to eat and use.  They did not normally sell or barter their crops or animals, but would on-occasion.

Finish in next column to the right

CROPS AND DEALING WITH THE LAND, CONTINUED
       Upon selecting a good farm site, where the land title could be purchased clear and legal, a good water supply, and trees for logs, the job of clearing for a field crop was a big one.
       Trees would be felled, stumps would be burnt or pulled out.  Sometimes whole trees would be burned out to increase the size of  a field.  Fence would be made of the logs after splitting.
Whole wooded areas would disappear with a productive farm.

       The business and survival of being a "sustenance farmer" in the 19th Century was the planting and preparing of a crop.  The following winter could be bad, and the corn and other crops, vegetables, and potatoes were necessary.
       Abraham Lincoln learned to farm from his father.
His life-interests were not in farming a field, but in learning

       He learned to use the ax and to hold the plough. He became inured to all the duties of seed-time and harvest. On many a day, during every one of those thirteen years, this Kentucky boy might have been seen with a long "gad" in his hand, driving his father's team in the field, or from the woods with a heavy draught, or on the rough path to the mill, the store, or the river landing.
         Abe was specially good at felling trees, and acquired a muscular strength in which he was equaled by few or none of those about him. In the sports of hunting and fishing, he was less skilled.  Upon killing his first animal, he made a personal promise to never do it again.

   

SURVEYOR'S MEASURE

7- (92-100 inches) make 1 link

25 links make 1 rod

4 rods make 1 chain

80 chains make 1 mile

[Note--a chain is 100 links, equal to 4 rods or 66 feet]

OTHER MEASUREMENTS OF OLD TIME
  • Shoemakers formerly used a subdivision of the inch called a barley-corn; three of which made an inch.

  • Horses are measured directly over the fore feet, and the standard of measure is four inches, called a hand.

Measurements of Old Continued in column on the right

 

MEASUREMENTS OF OLD

--CONTINUED

  • In Biblical and other old measurements, the term span is sometimes used, which is a length of nine inches.

  • The sacred cubit of the Jews was 24.024 inches in length

  • The common cubit of the Jews was 21.704 inches in length.

  • A pace is equal to a yard or 36 inches

  • A fathom is equal to 6 feet.

  • A league is three miles, but its length is variable, for it is strictly speaking a nautical term, and should be three geographical miles, equal to 3.45 statute miles, but when used on land, three statute miles are said to be a league.

  • In cloth measure an aune is equal to 1 1/4 yards, or 45 inches

  • An Amsterdam ell is equal to 26.284 inches

  • A brabant ell is equal to 27.116 inches

   

U.S. Land Measures, as recorded on deeds 

1.  A township is divided into 36 sections, each a mile square.

2.  A section contains 640 acres.

3.  A quarter section, half a mile square contains 160 acres.

4.  An eighth section, half a mile long, north and south, and a quarter of a mile wide contains 80 acres

5.  A sixteenth section, a quarter of a mile square contains 10 acres.

 

6.  The sections are all numbered 1 to 86, commencing at the north-east corner.

7.  The sections are divided into quarters, which are named by the cardinal points.

8.  The quarters are divided in the same way.  The description of a forty acre lot would read:  The south half of the west half of the south-west quarter of section 1 in township 24, north of range 7 west, or as the case might be; and sometimes will fall short and sometimes overrun the number of acres it is supposed to contain.

9.  The nautical mile is 795 feet 4-5 feet longer than the common mile.

 

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